LMICs as reservoirs of AMR': a comparative analysis of policy discourse on antimicrobial resistance with reference to Pakistan

Mishal S. Khan, Anna Durrance-Bagale, Helena Legido-Quigley, Ana Mateus, Rumina Hasan, Julia Spencer, Johanna Hanefeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has recently emerged as a salient global issue, and policy formulation to address AMR has become a contested space, with various actors sharing competing-and sometimes contradictory-explanations of the problem and the range of possible solutions. To facilitate national policy setting and implementation around AMR, more needs to be done to effectively engage policymakers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, there is a dearth of research on differences in issue framing by external agencies and LMIC's national policymakers on the problem of AMR; such analyses are imperative to identify areas of conflict and/or potential convergence. We compared representations of AMR across nine policy documents produced by multilateral agencies, donor countries and an LMIC at the forefront of the global response to AMR-Pakistan.We analysed the texts in relation to five narratives that have been commonly used to frame health issues as requiring action: economic impact, stunting of human development, consequences for health equity, health security threats and relationship with food production. We found that AMR was most frequently framed as a threat to human health security and economic progress, with several US, UK and international documents depicting LMICs as 'hotspots' for AMR. Human development and equity dimensions of the problem were less frequently discussed as reasons to address the growing burden of AMR. It is clear that no single coherent narrative on AMR has emerged, with notable differences in framing in Pakistani and external agency led documents, as well as across stakeholders primarily working on human vs animal health. While framing AMR as a threat to economic growth and human security has achieved highlevel political attention and catalysed action from governments in high-income countries, our analysis suggests that conflicting narratives relevant to policymakers in Pakistan may affect policy-making and impede the development and implementation of integrated initiatives needed to tackle AMR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Framing
  • Pakistan
  • Policy


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